Calgary stroke support programs help navigate life after stroke

October 2, 2012

It takes one to know one, especially when it comes to stroke recovery, according to two new Calgary programs providing support and resources to 1,200 stroke patients.

The In-Patient Support Program in Recovery from (I.N.S.P.I.R.E.S) is a peer-to-peer support program connecting people affected by stroke with patients in hospital following their stroke. The newly launched Patient and Family Passport for Stroke is a resource that contains everything and their families need to know about stroke.

Lori Beaver, a woman who is no to stroke, is behind both of the programs. She had a massive stroke eight years ago that left her in hospital for four months. After years of recovery, Beaver wanted to become more involved in the stroke community.

In April 2011, Beaver created the I.N.S.P.I.R.E.S. program with the help of her Dr. Michael Hill, clinical nurse educator Carole Neufeldt, administrative coordinator Lindsay Litowsky, and others.

"Stroke is very frightening," said Beaver, "I wanted to be there to offer some guidance and hope to the stroke patients."

Now in its second year, the program has recruited and trained 12 volunteers who visit in-hospital stroke patients on a weekly basis.

"It gives the patients a sense of relief," said Beaver. "We answer all sorts of questions related to our experiences after stroke—such as and , changes at home, and getting back to work.."

By the end of this year, Beaver says the I.N.S.P.I.R.E.S. program will grow to have 16 fully trained volunteers.

This year Beaver also helped launch the Patient and Family Passport for Stroke. The patient passports are full of the stroke resources Beaver wished she had been given when she had a stroke.

The binders include:

  • hospital and unit information (including key aspects of care, treatment, routines and what to expect from the different care providers they will meet)
  • stroke resources (the Canadian Stroke Network's Getting On With the Rest of Your Life After Stroke and the Patient and Family Guide to Stroke Best Practices)
  • tips for healthy living and nutrition
  • community stroke resources, including contact information for stroke support groups and rehabilitation centres.
In its first month, 74 per cent of stroke patients who received a patient passport found the tool was highly effective. A patient experience survey also found that patients found resource helpful and easy to read.

Patient passports serve as a guide to help deliver stroke best practices, says Michael Suddes, manager for the Calgary Stroke Program.

"The passports aren't just a patient resource. They set expectations on what staff need to be doing throughout a patient's stay in hospital," says Suddes. "It teaches patients about standards of care."

There are also plans, with the other stroke centres across Alberta, to adopt a similar approach province-wide.

"It is important for stroke patients to receive all the information and support they need when they first arrive in hospital and that they also have tools for when they return home," says Dr. Mark Bayley, Co-Chair of the Canadian Stroke Congress.

"Such innovative programs are a guiding light in how to support stroke patients and give them the information they need," says Ian Joiner, director of stroke for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. "Right now there is an uneven availability of similar programs across the country. We can learn from this successful model. "

The Canadian Stroke Congress is co-hosted by the Canadian Stroke Network, the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Stroke Consortium.

Explore further: Many emergency programs get failing grade when it comes to stroke training

Related Stories

Many emergency programs get failing grade when it comes to stroke training

October 1, 2012
Medical residents training to work in the emergency department need more formal stroke training, says a study presented today at the Canadian Stroke Congress, noting that, as the first point of contact in stroke care, they ...

Provincial stroke strategy improves care for rural residents in Nova Scotia

October 1, 2012
Stroke patients in rural Nova Scotia receive better treatment and are less likely to end up in long-term care facilities than they were before the province's stroke strategy was rolled out in 2008, according to a study presented ...

Home-based stroke therapy improves outcomes, eliminates wait times, saves money

October 1, 2012
Home delivery of stroke rehabilitation improves care, eliminates waiting lists for treatment and saves hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in hospital costs, according to a quality improvement project presented today ...

Exercise improves memory, thinking after stroke, study finds

October 1, 2012
Just six months of exercise can improve memory, language, thinking and judgment problems by almost 50 per cent, says a study presented today at the Canadian Stroke Congress.

Screening for post-stroke depression inadequate and inconsistent, study finds

October 1, 2012
Physicians are prescribing anti-depressants for stroke patients without first giving them a proper diagnosis, they are over-treating some patients, and overlooking others, according to a study presented today at the Canadian ...

Rehabilitation robots uncover stroke disabilities and improve care

October 1, 2012
When it comes to stroke rehabilitation, it takes a dedicated team to help a person regain as much independence as possible: physicians, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, recreation ...

Recommended for you

How Gata4 helps mend a broken heart

August 15, 2017
During a heart attack, blood stops flowing into the heart; starved for oxygen, part of the heart muscle dies. The heart muscle does not regenerate; instead it replaces dead tissue with scars made of cells called fibroblasts ...

Injectable tissue patch could help repair damaged organs

August 14, 2017
A team of U of T Engineering researchers is mending broken hearts with an expanding tissue bandage a little smaller than a postage stamp.

Air pollution linked to cardiovascular disease; air purifiers may lessen impact

August 14, 2017
Exposure to high levels of air pollution increased stress hormone levels and negative metabolic changes in otherwise healthy, young adults in a recent study conducted in China. Air purifiers appeared to lessen the negative ...

Study hints at experimental therapy for heart fibrosis

August 14, 2017
Researchers report encouraging preclinical results as they pursue elusive therapeutic strategies to repair scarred and poorly functioning heart tissues after cardiac injury—describing an experimental molecular treatment ...

Scientists identify mutations in venous valve disease

August 14, 2017
A team of scientists has discovered that mutations in the genes FOXC2 and GJC2 are associated with defects in venous valves, flaps within veins that help maintain proper blood flow.

Mechanism behind sudden cardiac deaths in sports uncovered

August 10, 2017
Researchers have worked out the mechanism behind sudden cardiac deaths that follow a hard blow to the chest.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.